Book reviews: Something epic

Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra

Okay, guys, I read Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games. It took me one entire month to get through. This book was huge. I know that the size of a book should not be the reason to not read it, but sometimes, you look at a book and you think that’s a huge time commitment. Do I want to invest all of my book-reading time into that book? The answer is usually: No. I had given myself the goal of reading 101 books this year. That’s a lot of books, like two a week. When you find yourself with a tome like this, you know it’s going to put you off schedule. I took one look at this book as I got it out of the library and thought: Not going to happen.

However. The events of the past month aligned to force me to read this. The city flooded, meaning the library refused to take this book back for about a month, and wouldn’t let me take out any of my other books on hold. I was stuck with one giant book. So I opened it up and started it.


I think I’m starting to sound like the worst reader ever. I’m not, always. But with a baby at home, I read things about two pages at a time. Sacred Games is written like a nineteenth-century epic novel, only set in modern times in India about gangsters. So think War and Peace in Bollywood, with more guns. It’s hard to make sense of that in two-page intervals! Anyway, after I realized it was inevitable, I did start to enjoy this book. It is beautifully written and the amount and breadth of detail is insane. It also made me crave Indian food in a bad way.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, but not in a bad way. I do recommend this book. It just takes you a long time to get through, and you might need some kind of flooding of Biblical proportions to help get you through it. Now that I’m done, I’m only reading smutty romance books and crappy YAs for the rest of the summer.

 

The Perils of Pleasure, by Julie Anne Long

And really, could you get more smuttier than this? Actually, you could. My one concern with The Perils of Pleasure, clearly a period bodice-ripper, is that it wasn’t smutty ENOUGH. Is it just me, or are romance novels becoming prudes? I don’t know. Am I getting dirtier?


To fulfill the next requirement, a crappy YA book. Although, you know, that’s probably not fair to Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules. I’m sure it’s a fine book. It’s about both vampires AND the apocalypse, which is ambitious. I appreciate that. It’s just no Sacred Games.

The thing is, when I undertook to read all these books and blog about them, I had this whole system where I would take recommendations from all over the place, and force myself to read them, not just the normal shallow stuff I gravitate towards (because, at heart, I’m super shallow). I thought it would make me a better reader. Unfortunately, it has.

One little thing about the cover art, though. The main character is Japanese. This girl on the cover is not even close to Asian. I suspect this might have something to do with marketing, whatever, Caucasian girls on the cover sell better. And I just want to say that I think that sucks.


Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, is really, laugh out loud funny. It’s almost aggressively funny. I actually started reading this one right after Sacred Games, and it was so ENTHUSIASTIC and I was still coming down off the epic gangster book that was really deep and depressing and the incongruity was just too much for me. So I put it down and came back to it later, and enjoyed it much more. I don’t read Lawson’s blog, The Bloggess Blog, but I’m going to start. She is crazy in the best way possible. I also wanted to read this book solely for the cover, which makes me giggle every time I look at it.


Oh, did I say I’d only read YA and romance for the rest of the summer? I lied. I just finished The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Milan Kundera’s sort of novel, sort of criticism on politics, literature, music and his own life. All set in the backdrop of communist Prague. So, not really light reading. What I took away from it is it was Kundera’s ideas on humanity, and what that means to him. Also, I feel like philosophers from the Soviet-era 70s can be really depressing. But I didn’t grow up in Soviet-era Prague, so who am I to judge. Parts of this book were beautiful, other parts were really disturbing.

And, I know that a lot of this was symbolism, but holy rape culture. And holy pedophilia. Yikes.

Word of the day:

Trope: any literary or rhetorical device, as metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony, that consists in the use of words inother than their literal sense.

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